3D Printing Safety 101: Detect, Defend & Douse Fires!

3D Printers are steadily making their way into homes worldwide, and it’s only natural to question their safety. Specifically, can they spark fires? I, Carolina, as a tech trainee, decided to delve deeper and curate a comprehensive guide on 3D printers and fire safety. I’ll cover everything from detection to protection and prevention.


Frequency of 3D Printer Fires?
How common is it for a 3D printer to burst into flames? Well, it’s quite uncommon, especially when the machine is equipped with advanced safety features and assembled correctly. While millions use 3D printers without a hitch, a few incidents have cropped up, usually with off-brand models.

Compare the odds of your 3D printer igniting to something like your kitchen stove or oven. Appliances like water heaters might actually be a bigger fire risk! But worry not, by following the right precautions, your chances of facing a fire are minimal.

Research indicates that most fire incidents involve low-grade, hastily put-together printers. Remember the Anet A8? It was infamous for its fire-starting tendencies. One tech enthusiast even labeled it a bane for 3D printing lovers due to its myriad of production shortcuts. This printer was notorious for missing some quintessential safety measures that other brands readily offered.

Another point to note is the faulty assembly of thermistors in certain models like the Anet A8 and A6. Instead of securely screwing them in place, they were simply glued, which posed risks due to detachment from heat and motion.

Even top-tier brands aren’t entirely exempt from risks. A case was reported where a Prusa kit, possibly misassembled, caught fire.

Factors influencing the chances of 3D printers igniting include:
– Printer’s manufacturing quality
– Electrical setup and connectivity
– Adherence to safety measures

Spotting 3D Printer Fires
Smoke Detectors: Consider installing these near your 3D printer, especially if it’s in a less frequented area. A personal story I came across recounted how an alert from a fire alarm system saved a user’s house from a looming 3D printer fire disaster.

For the tech-savvy, smart detectors like Nest Protect paired with IFTT commands can cut power to the printer if smoke is detected.

Real-Time Monitoring Gadgets: Staying around your 3D printer 24/7 isn’t feasible. So, gadgets like cameras, coupled with tools like Obico (formerly Spaghetti Detective), come in handy. They not only let you check your prints but also ensure everything’s running smoothly.

3D Printer Fire Shields
Fire Extinguishers: A vital tool to have close by. Opt for a powder-based extinguisher, as water isn’t a friend of electricity.
Automatic Sprinklers and Fireballs: A quick automatic response to douse a fire can be game-changing.
3D Printer Cases: Enclosures can serve as the first line of defense against fire, preventing it from spreading.

3D Printer Fire Prevention Tips
– Activate thermal runaway protection
– Secure loose connections
– Invest in a quality board
– Replace tinned wire connectors
– Ensure wire strain relief

And what about Resin 3D Printers? These are much like any electrical equipment in terms of fire risk. Their light-based curing process doesn’t heat up like filament printers. The primary risk might stem from post-processing, where flammable liquids are used. Still, with proper precautions, they are pretty safe to use.